[Ads-l] Modern Proverb: Tie - like kissing your sister

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 1 17:17:20 UTC 2016

Quotation expert Mardy Grothe asked me about the expression in the
subject line. There are valuable entries on this topic in The Yale
Book of Quotations, The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, Barry Popik's
website, and numerous other reference works.

Short link:  http://bit.ly/2dzDf1X

Barry apparently located the earliest citation dated August 25, 1949.
Here is a citation from a few years earlier (by the same person).

The expression was applied to a football game by Edgar (Rip) Miller,
Navy's line coach.

Date: December 5, 1946
Newspaper: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Newspaper Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Article: Sidelights on Sports
Author: Al Abrams
Quote Page 19


[Begin excerpt]
Several of the bell hops surrounded Miller in the lobby of the William
Penn Hotel, and one of them put this question to him: "Why didn't Navy
try for a field goal and get a tie out of it?" Miller looked at him,
and replied without a smile: "That's just like kissing your sister
with your sweetheart standing by!"
[End excerpt]

Below is the same simile in April 1892 applied to typewritten letters
from sweethearts. This citation is a couple months before the one
listed by Barry, but the ascription, acknowledgement, and text are the

Date: April 3, 1892
Newspaper: The Times
Newspaper Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Article: Observations
Acknowledgement: From Kate Field's Washington
Quote Page 14, Column 5


[Begin excerpt]
>From Kate Field's Washington
Reading a typewritten letter from your sweetheart is like kissing your sister.
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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